Review for Pinnacle Golf Club

Reviewer Score:


In memory of the recently departed Alex Trebek, I’ll open this writeup with a bit of trivia: five major winners who have designed golf courses in the greater Columbus, Ohio area. “Who are Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf” are easy, “Fuzzy Zoeller” may catch a few off guard, but many will be quite sincere — and not just using ‘Jeopardy’s trademark verbiage — when they say “who is Lanny Wadkins?” The answer is both the winner of the 1977 PGA Championship at Pebble Beach, and the designer of Pinnacle Golf Club.

One could be forgiven for thinking one of those other names was involved, however...much of the back nine revolves around the property’s central creek, leading to forced carries and watery run-ins that hearken to designs by both Nicklaus and Palmer on the city’s north side (Nicklaus is rumored to have been scouted for the job, before ownership took the offer to Wadkins).

Although numerous forced carries can become tiresome, such is not the problem at Pinnacle. In fact, the creek provides the meat behind one of the club’s best holes. At No. 9, the position of the stream is quite ideal, allowing players of any strength to have an attempt at getting home in two when playing from the correct tee. That the stylistic clubhouse is perched on the hill behind the green makes it all the more pleasing. Issues appear, however, due to the trees that appreciate such sources of hydration. Rarely does this result in fairways-too-thin (the typical tree complaint) but the second nine, which houses most of the creek, is notably cramped compared to the more expansive front. Although the yardages are almost equal, the holes on the back are jigsaw-puzzled together to fit, which can be just fine if the strategy remains varied, but the doglegs at Nos. 12, 14, and 17 essentially become the same hole.

That said, of the three, I’d suggest two of those aforementioned three are in fact good holes (too many trees at the corner of the dogleg at No. 14). Many before me have lamented that No. 9 is not the closing hole, however the long that officially ends the round is a prize of a hole, with a false front to match some of the nastiest rejection letters I have received. On the front nine, No. 4 also stands out for its downhill approach, the final 150 yards along ponds connected by a series of waterfalls.

On the whole, Pinnacle is not a disappointing course...well-maintained and visually-stimulating. It requires a few more standout holes to take Wadkins the designer from pub trivia to a household name, however.

Date: November 12, 2020

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